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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Forever misunderstood
I just finished reading the rst of the comments section of todays Telegram. The story quotes my last release on the coming drop in most fuel prices. It wasn't the story that got to me, it was the comments by some clampitts after it...
Sometimes it's like beating my head off the wall...
Sometimes there's more sense in a bag of rocks...
I don't know how many times I have to state it categorically that I am not getting paid by anyone for doing what I am doing and there's just no sense in trying to explain why I carry on with what I do. My pay comes in the form of the savings that I make in the run of a year that stays in my pocket because I do track the price changes...
I just do it...
Agaian, I find that there are the doubting Thomas's out there that think I get paid by Danny for what I do. There are those out there that think I am the regulator, but I'm not!
Jesus, I feel like Brian in the Monty Python movie, The Life of Brian!
I am a regular guy who drives a taxi for a living and I track the price of gas and other fuels for the sake of myself and for family. That's where the big interest came from, after someone in the higher eshelons of a Big Oil company told me that it was basically none of my busines why the price of fuel is the price it is on any given day.
I disagreed with him whole heartedly at the time and i still do. The price of fuels is everyone's business and it'll continue to be mine as long as I have my drivers licence.
It bugs me to no ends the fact that someone can do something for nothing and people are held suspect for doing it.
Maybe it's time to take the show on the road and have a good chat with everyone about what I'm at and how I do it.
Think I could get some kind of grant from Big Oil for that?...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Price drops on the way
Markets show another downturn

Media release

Conception Bay South, NL, February 24, 2009- The markets have been showing another sell-off as the economy slowly sinks and that will show another break to consumers later this week as all fuel prices will drop on Thursday morning, that’s the prediction coming this week from the Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices.

What the numbers say
“All the data is in and it looks like we’re in for a break on petroleum products come this Thursday morning. Fourteen days of data show that diesel will drop by 5.0 cents per litre, gasoline to drop by 2.8 cents a litre and stove oils to drop by 3.99 cents per litre,” said George Murphy, group researcher with the group.

“The stove oil number points to what is on the way for heating oil and with that fuels jet fuel component showing a drop of up to 15 per cent in demand, I expect heating oil to take a sharper drop than the one predicted for stove oils. Heating oils should be closer to a nickel down as a result.

Outlook on diesel prices
Some clues are beginning to emerge from the markets in recent days on what could be happening with diesel prices in the long term and it should prove to be good news for a lot of users of the fuel. The last few days have shown some moves by the European Union against manufacturers of bio-diesel. Because the product is manufactured with huge subsidies by the US government, the EU is talking about placing tariffs on the product to keep it away from EU products. The EU views it as a subsidized product and that gives it an unfair advantage. If that happens, US inventories of distillate will only increase and that means dropping prices.


For more information, contact;

George Murphy
Group researcher/Member
Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices

Monday, February 23, 2009

Numbers still down...
Just a quick update...
One more day of data to attain and here's what I have up to now:
  • Stove oils now show 3.89 cents a litre down. That's the way that heating oil will go, but heating oils should show more down than that number. Jet fuel, which is part of the winter heating oil mix, is showing a strong drop in demand. I'm looking at heating oils to be closer to five cents a litre down when all is said and done.
  • Diesel shows 4.9 cents a litre down, and...
  • Gasoline shows 2.5 cents down.

Again, I will post here later tomorrow night with the final numbers to come for Thursday. It might be one more day to come but, there's plenty enough data to call the shot on all fuels dropping this Thursday morning.



Saturday, February 21, 2009

Numbers, numbers, I got the numbers!
Just a quick update on what's happening out there on the markets as I'm still tracking drops to all fuels with just two more days of data to get my hands on.
  • Stove oils down by 3.71 cents a litre so far.
  • The heating oil number is part jet fuel. With jet fuel demand slipping to 15 per cent, I expect to see the heating oil number to drop more than the 3.71 stove oil number. Look for it to exced well above four cents a litre-Down!
  • Diesel numbers show 4.7 cents a litre down, and...
  • Gasoline shows 2.1 cents a litre down.

I'll be back around to post the final numbers again sometime Tuesday evening, hopefully in time for all to make their purchasing decisions based on what I have. Either way, the distillate prices are taking a pounding in the consumers favour.

Not bad to see them drop over the course of the winter!



Tuesday, February 17, 2009

No price changes this week


After a short spike in prices at the start of this pricing session, due mainly to draw-downs on inventories, it seems that things are starting to loosen up on the markets again.

Prices are dropping for the first time in several weeks it seems. March trading for WTI is dropping and so is the cost of crude acquisition.

While I don't have numbers that show interruption to fuel pricing, stove oils are showing 2.42 cents a litre down. That's probably a good indicator of where prices will be next week. The kicker here is that I can't get a read on jet fuel, so there is a possibility that heating oils are down even more, possibly within interruption territory, although I have no way to confirm that as being so.

Diesel fuels are also pointing down further, almost 3.3 cents a litre.

Gasoline experienced the biggest spike at the start of this session but, after today's market move downwards, now shows a"break even".

No change at all.

I'm expecting gasoline to trade further down for the next week, based simply on the fact that the next inventory data available on Wednesday should show an increase in stocks. Gasoline itself took a nine cent a litre hit on the markets today based on the ever-worsening economic news. Again this week, I expect to see a drop in demand, unlike last week that saw consumption equal to the same time period last year, and that should figure heavy in the markets again.
The above picture (AP photo), an overhead shot from New Jersey, says it all I think!
For some reason, I think there's going to be some great deals on some models of cars in the coming weeks, particularly if you can wait for the next model year to come out!

Of course, anything can happen between now and next Tuesday when I have the final numbers in, so don't take all this as being "bible".

But, we can pray in the meantime!

I'll be in touch!



Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Price changes on the way for Thursday
Distillate demand drops, gasoline increases

Media release

Conception Bay South, NL, February 10, 2009- Consumers in Newfoundland and Labrador will, once again, experience a drop in distillate prices while gasoline is projected to see a small increase at the pumps this coming Thursday, that’s according to George Murphy, group researcher with the Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices.

Heating, stove oils and diesel to drop
“All the numbers are in and, by all appearances, those fuels connected with the distillate group, namely diesel, heating and stove oils, all will experience drops in pricing. Diesel fuel is projected to drop by 3.0 cents per litre while stove oils are projected to fall close to the same amount, 2.95 cents a litre. The stove oil number may be the harbinger of things to come with heating oils as well as jet fuel demand is also being impacted on the world markets so, that number for heating oils may in fact be slightly more than what we have for stove oils”, said Murphy.

Gasoline prices up slightly
“In the meantime, gasoline is expected to increase slightly by 3.3 cents per litre. Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve seen the oil industry talking about the possibility of a refiner strike that could affect upwards of 30 thousand workers directly. We’ve also seen a slight drop in the builds of inventories in recent weeks. Even though the number shows very modest increases in inventory, the fact is that refiners are concentrating more on distillate output rather than gasoline and that has helped to support prices. Refined product supplied to the markets is down almost three per cent from last years numbers. Gasoline demand is a bare ½ a percentage point below last year for the same time frame as a result. Even though gasoline production rose slightly against the week previous, refiner capacity is still well below peak production rates, measuring just over 83 per cent.

Crude message in oil
“Crude oil supplies have increased in recent weeks, just one reason why we’ve seen the price of raw crude drop. There’s plenty of it out there and it seems that OPEC cuts have not impacted supply greatly. From the look of things, I believe that the economy is being hit harder than we think. This may be true evidence of the smack we are about to take economically and real troublesome signs of how deep the recession is going to be. We are now into the March contracts for delivery and we haven’t seen the affects of OPEC cuts as of yet. The question is, will we?

Residual fuels and Marine Atlantic
Residual fuel oil, a type of fuel used for marine applications, prices have reached March of 2005 levels and have been experiencing some form of steady pricing in the markets. This should be enough time now for Marine Atlantic to announce its next moves on the remaining nine per cent fuel surcharge that was put on for crossings made by the shipping line. These fuel surcharges were placed in 2008 and previously in 2007 when the fuel price was high and not at 2005 levels. It’s now time for Marine Atlantic to deal with the remainder of the fuel surcharges on crossings of the Gulf. It is also time for the federal government to step in and absorb any future increases in fuel costs that add an artificial inflation rate to goods coming into Newfoundland and Labrador. The people of the province were told through the media by Marine Atlantic officials that the remainder of the fuel surcharge would be dealt with in January. They’re late with it.


For more information, contact;

George Murphy
Group researcher/Member
Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices
One number up, the rest of them down
With one more day of data to attain (13 out of 14 days on hand), we can almost call the final shot on what will happen this week with pricing on petroleum products. These aren't final numbers, but they are close to what the actual may turn out like.
I'll have the final numbers tomorrow night for sure but, needless to say, I'm sure there will be some sort of a media splash to get the word out to everyone!
  • Heating and stove oils to drop by 2.76 cents a litre. Remember that the heating number may be off because of the use of jet fuel as an antifreeze agent, a number for which we just can't get a hold of. Either way, down is the word here as there has been a drop in distillates over the last few weeks.
  • Diesel fuel to drop by 2.8 cents a litre. With all the economic damage out there, there's a little less tendency to use those tractor trailers to ship goods and demand here has been impacted as a result.
  • Gasoline shows an increase of 3.3 cents a litre. More on this one tomorrow night, but it doesn't look good in the face of refineries matching decreasing production with falling demand. I'm thinking that they're trying to strike a balance between the two factors and they're hoping for a drop in inventories as a result of the moves. That's part reason why gasoline is still being 'supported". That may change soon, if the economy has any say in the matter...

I'll be by with my final numbers tomorrow night, sometime after 8:00 P.M!



Tuesday, February 03, 2009

No interruption this week!

Numbers confirm that there will be NO fuel price interruption this week unless there's an unknown factor out there like the jet fuel number. Even then, distillate numbers are pointing down, so if they are to drop, then it will be with heating fuels which has a 25% #2 fuel and 75% jet fuel mix.

I keep looking for a jet fuel number to use so I can figure out the winter mix but, alas! To no avail!

Numbers so far this period show:

*Heating/stove oils down by 2.0 cents a litre.
*Gasoline up by 2.6 cents a litre, and
*Diesel down by 1.9 cents a litre.

We have another week of market activity before these numbers are finalised so, let this be just a small pic of what is happening out there. These are not the final numbers yet!


George Murphy
Group researcher/Member
Consumer Group for Fair Gas prices

Monday, February 02, 2009

Refinery workers keep talks on
Representatives of the United Steelworkers Union that handle upwards of 30,000 refinery workers have kept the lines of communication open in a bid to prevent a strike against refinery owners today, that's according to several news sources. The workers previous contract expired yesterday.
Oil and it's related, refined commodities took a nose-dive over the days trading, relieving some of the upwards market pressures on the price of gasolines and heating/stove oils.
Numbers still show no interrupt scenario developing for heating,stove oils or diesels. Gasoline numbers are still showing an added 2.5 cents a litre up with todays news. Today was also the first day in a week that the spot price dropped below that of the last week price-setting.
Four cents is needed for interruption to occur and that has to average over seven days of data.
We'll have the final word on that in tomorrow nights posting but, i can say that gasoline is going to have to trade up substantially for there to be an interruption scenario to kick in now.
AIMS releases their study on regulated markets
...and how about something constructive for a change?

Media release

Conception Bay South, NL, February 02, 2009- The Atlantic Institute for Market Studies has released a report on what regulated markets are costing consumers in Atlantic Canada and George Murphy of the Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices is hearing things in the report that he has heard before. He’s just waiting on the AIMS Group to come out with something constructive.

“The AIMS group came out with a report this morning that says regulation has cost the taxpayer in Newfoundland and Labrador several million dollars. If they had done their research, the AIMS group would have found that regulation costs the consumer of the province less than a half million bucks a year and amounts to .0007 cents a litre at the pumps and not the estimated 1.5 cents that the group used to construct its report”, said the researcher for the group.

“It also uses the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CPPI) as one of its sources of its report. The CPPI is a representative group of the oil companies so, I have to question the use of such information that AIMS has used. It’s not the first time they’ve spouted off on the costs of regulation but, we have yet to hear the constructive arguments from them on what to do to get some free competition going in the province- the chief reason why we have regulation in the first place. They also don’t advocate the dropping of some of the taxation component on gasoline that helps elevate the price at the pumps.

“It is important to remember that regulation in Newfoundland and Labrador regulates the maximum price that any product can be sold for. There is nothing to stop any company from selling their product for less than that and that’s where the consumer loses. Besides the immediate CBS area, the companies have always failed to sell gasoline below the regulated minimum set by the PUB. Why? Can the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies tell us that or are they tainted by the influences of the same people they are getting their information from? Are they saying that Big Oil should be the final arbiter in the setting of pricing?

“Can the AIMS group give us something we can use? Who is paying the tab on this latest ‘scoop’? Toronto prices are low because of a free market system called competition that still exists in the area. Small mom and pop operations still drop gasoline prices because there is a margin to do so of some fourteen cents a litre and big mainstream companies are forced to compete with them. The age of the small mom and pop operation in Newfoundland and Labrador died a long time ago and competition is dying in a lot of other areas of the country where mom and pop operations are being forced from the markets. That’s one reason why the province was forced to enact legislation back in 2001 to regulate the market. If the AIMS group had done its research, it would have had several explainers as to why we ended up with regulation in the first place. This release of theirs is flawed and also misinforms the public.”

“I would encourage the AIMS group to look at several issues pertaining to petroleum pricing itself.
*How does a market, where competition has been destroyed, restore it?
*Address taxation issues.
*Use different and argumentative sources. We had no call from the AIMS group so, we don’t know who was called otherwise, and we would have given them good arguments why regulation is in place.
*Why doesn’t the AIMS group study the effects of “reciprocal sales arrangements’ on markets where there is basically one or two sources of supply?
*Why does the AIMS group not lobby for changes to the Competition Act?


For more information, contact;

George Murphy’
Group researcher/Member
Consumer Group for Fair Gas

Sunday, February 01, 2009

US refiners may strike.
Be warned!
The next increase in gasoline pricing just may have been brought by a variety of unions and companies in the good old USA.
Upwards of 24,000 refinery and maintenance workers are set to strike as of midnight tonight as contracts and reprieves run out. Some refineries are already preparing for shut-down while others will try to maintain production with replacement workers and management personnel.
If they do strike, some 1.8 million barrels a day of gasoline production may be disrupted and could cause a draw-down on the recent builds in gasoline inventory.
Draw-downs mean price increases to the consumer as the shortage of product gets a little on the scarce side. Depending on how long the strike lasts, we could see prices increase to over a buck a litre again-and soon.
So far this week, on the possible strike news, gasoline is averaging a rough 3.1 cents a litre up from the last price setting just last week. Four cents a litre is needed for that possibility to happen. If gasoline trades high or roughly the same as it did on Friday, then we can expect the interrupter formula to kick in later this week. Other markets have already seen increases in prices at the pump based on last week's activities on the strike matter.
Here in the province, we're not as likely to dodge the impacts of a US refiner strike either, even though we're miles away. Awww, the benefits of being part of the world economy and looking after Uncle Sam rather than your own, wa??
You might want to keep an eye on the blog Tuesday night for an "official word" on that thought.
I might add that heating, stove oils and diesel do not show signs of interruption according to what I have on paper.
I'll be in touch!